Reduce Mesothelioma Risk with Asbestos Disposal

Does All Asbestos Have To Be Removed?

No.  The presence of asbestos in the home or office does not automatically required removal.  In fact, if you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or office take special care not to disturb it.  Asbestos is dangerous when friable fibers are disturbed and released into the air.  Asbestos exposure is typically associated with the rare cancer mesothelioma. Material that is in good condition (i.e. not damaged) will not release asbestos fibers.  Check materials that you suspect may contain asbestos carefully, searching for wear and tear or water damage.  Damage to asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can result in the release of asbestos fibers into the air.  Disturbing ACMs by rubbing, hitting, or handling them will also result in the release of asbestos fibers into the environment.  Thus, in the event that you need to remodel or make repairs on or near the ACMs, it is suggested that you either remove or repair the asbestos-containing materials.

Repairing Asbestos-Containing Materials

Repairing ACMs typically involves sealing (or encapsulating) the asbestos or covering (or enclosing) the asbestos.  Repair leaves the asbestos in place, but is usually cheaper than removal. 

Encapsulating asbestos materials usually involves treating the asbestos with a sealant that binds the asbestos fibers together making them non-friable.  Enclosing repairs involve the installation of a leak-tight protective wrap or cover that prevents the asbestos fibers from contaminating the air.  For safety reasons, both forms of repairs should be done by a licensed asbestos repair professional.  Asbestos repairs, while cheaper than removal, can make removal of asbestos materials in the future more difficult and costly. 

Asbestos Disposal or Removal

Asbestos removal and disposal is the most expensive route of action when dealing with asbestos materials.  Often, removal is also the last route.  Removal of asbestos-containing materials requires that the asbestos be disturbed, virtually ensuring that the home or office under renovation will be contaminated.  Only licensed professionals have the training and equipment to properly remove asbestos containing materials.  Improper asbestos removal can significantly increase the health risk posed to you and your family or co-workers. 

Choosing Asbestos Disposal Professionals

Given the consequences- especially mesothelioma - associated with asbestos contamination, it is strongly recommended that you work with an accredited asbestos professional.  Asbestos removal firms often range from product-specific services to full service asbestos consultants (i.e., firms that offer testing, assessment, and correction).  It is strongly recommended that an asbestos assessment consultant be independent from corrective action consultants. Be sure to ask for references from previous clients and check the professional's credentials carefully.  Once you've narrowed down your options, check with your local Better Business Bureau to determine if the firm has had any safety violations.  Also check with your local and state health departments and your regional EPA office to determine what the appropriate regulation and guidelines are for disposal of asbestos-containing material.  Get written assurances from the contractor that they have or will follow the applicable regulations.